LIGHT THE FIRE!!!
KEEPING OUR BOARD ON BOARD
⛶ Full screen
Crew Members: Yael Gil'Adi Dale Hill Mirana Rajoharison
Description of the challenge
De-motivation of key governance actors such as Board Members impacts the NGO performance so it needs to be addressed. Though many reasons can explain their lack of readiness to engage in the organisational self-asssessment, the lack of a shared vision is the root cause. The challenge is then:
How to align Board members shared vision to increase NGO's performance and adapt to change?
Why does it matter?
A pre-condition for an NGO to be able to do an organizational self-assessment is for the board to have a shared vision. We assume that in the presenting scenario, this is not the case. Increasing board members’ shared vision will be addressed in order to increase motivation and input by the board members to be able to create a cohesive and effective strategy. This will then guide the Executive Director and staff in developing or adapting the theory of change. We believe that if the vision changes then the theory of change would have to be adapted as well. Stakeholders: board members, CEO, staff, clients, and donors.
We discussed the experience of Board members in different NGOs including some NGOs that do not have a shared vision at all, as well as NGOs that would have to adapt to a new vision after being affected by COVID-19. One thing that these NGOs have in common, is the need for the board to come together and work through the new vision and strategy for the organization.
Description of the solution
Our multi-step approach is based on Board members empowerment so they align towards the same purpose.
- A temperature check: a client survey to check of how the organization is doing. Though clients may focus on the services they need, and engaging them at this stage may be surprising, but their vision of the NGO in the capacity of delivering such services is the important input.
- A full-day retreat: which goal is to have Board members renew or define their vision. Several workshops have been identified as necessary. The main resource here is a facilitator to guide them throughout the process. which should include:
- Hear them all: Asking each Board member (so they are all heard) to answer specific questions including: What would you like this NGO to look like in 5 years? This question has to address how they see the vision, strategy, and services.
- Positioning: During the whole day, there will also be a repeated activity where the Board members will place themselves on a spectrum where a facilitator will draw a line in the middle of the room and the board members place themselves where they believe the organization is in regards to reaching a shared vision of the org.
- Peer to Peer learning: We will also share benchmark information to the board and provide an example of an NGO with a consensus on a well-defined vision and how this has positively been reflected in strategy, theory of change, and high-performing client-driven services.
- In the shoes of: There will also be an activity where the board members will place themselves in the shoes of the Staff so they can better embody the staff struggle within an organisation with no common vision. This game is borrowed from Improvisation classes.
- Voice from the field: If budget allows, the Board champion and the less engaged board member would be sent in the field to collect the beneficiaries’ voices, concerns and struggles. Those Board members would then be the best advocates and remind all why the commit their time to the cause.
- Board buddies: We would pair up Board member so an engaged one could support a de-motivated one during the term they serve…
Our making of
After missed meetings and solved time zone differences, we are back on tracks and could hold our first meeting, which was very effective. In less than 1 hour, we came to a consensus for pending organizational questions, narrowed down the topic and chose our challenge. We listened to each other experience and points of view, expressed our own perceptions. Various suggestions came up and consensus was found very quickly. We also shared tasks and set up another meeting. Back on tracks, definitely on fire!!!!
Another fruitful hour. After ideating on our own for 24 hours, we shared our ideas and we came up with a collective solution, rich of each participant's own experience and suggestion. We spent time thinking of solutions used in a different context and adapted them to our challenge. We would definitely take to the office some of the solutions. Our group main strength was its diversity of experiences... After prototyping, we could test the solutions directly with one of us... Now comes the less funny part: drafting and making the capsule video...